Powys Digital History Project

Machynlleth - Care of the poor 2
The Poor Law Union

For more on this
subject see our pages
on the
Poor Law
Amendment Act.

Harsh new treatment of the poor
The Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 introduced an entirely new system for looking after the poor. Parishes were grouped together to provide care through local Poor Law Unions. The Machynlleth Union was formed in this way and was managed by a Board of Guardians with representatives from the parishes in the Union.

These new bodies were required to incarcerate those paupers claiming relief in the new large workhouses. Like the Rhayader Union, the Machynlleth Union was slow to commit itself to the building of such a workhouse, choosing instead to pay relief out of Union funds and to allow paupers to stay in their homes.

County Archives
Minute Book entry 

The above image is an entry from the Minute Books of the Machynlleth Board of Guardians. It records the relief given to paupers in Penegoes parish in 1837 and reads as follows:-

Mary James Wo. [widow] 78 gets 1/- [1 shilling] weekly applies for 10/- rent
10/- casual allowed
Elizabeth Jones Widow 66 gets 8d?
[8 pence?] weekly - applies for 10/- rent
10/- casual allowed
John Wood 74 wife 62 and a son 28 who is an idiot - gets 2/- weekly - applies for 20/- rent
15/- casual allowed
David Thomas widower 81 - gets 2/- weekly - applies for 10/- rent
10/- casual allowed
Jane Edwards widow 55 and 2 children - gets 1/3
[1 shilling & 3 pence] weekly - applies for 15/- rent
15/- casual allowed

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